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Rapid, sensitive and specific methods are necessary to confirm the diagnosis of outbreaks of avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) infection. The amplification of IBV genome by reverse transcription followed by polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) has been one of the most used methods for the detection of this virus in clinical samples. To reduce the time and the number of steps in the molecular diagnosis of IBV, we developed a sensitive and rapid detection method based on viral capture by a lectin (Concanavalin A—Con A) in the microplate wells, followed by RT-PCR to amplify the S1 gene. The detection limit of IBV was 103 EID50/ml for the amplification of 5’part of the S1 gene, and 104 EID50/ml for the amplification of full S1 gene. This technique was specific for IBV detection, and no amplified products were detected for other avian viral pathogens (bursal infectious disease virus, avian metapneumovirus and Newcastle disease virus). The MLC-RT-PCR was as sensitive as conventional RT-PCR, and virus isolation method for the detection of IBV in tissue samples collected from experimentally infected birds. The MLC-RT-PCR technique demonstrated a great potential for the rapid and specific diagnosis of IBV.